Rock, Wrestling and Cruises: The Many Faces of Renaissance Man Chris Jericho

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 8, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

Some men are the acrobats. Some men are the clowns. Chris Jericho is the whole damn circus.

It's hard enough to master all the elements of pro wrestling. One has to be an athlete, a showman and a self-promoter all rolled into one.

Jericho has long gone beyond that realm, venturing out of the ring to seek success elsewhere. He's done that several times over.

The former WWE world champion has celebrated victories in the ring, in print, on screen and on stage. 

Chris Jericho, pro wrestling's renaissance man.
Chris Jericho, pro wrestling's renaissance man.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

His resume is as diverse as it gets. Jericho has played the same festival as A Flock of Seagulls, outlasted Sugar Ray Leonard on Dancing with the Stars and gone toe-to-toe with AJ Styles at WrestleMania. He wrestles, fronts a rock band, acts, writes, interviews and hosts.

If Jericho decided to become a stage magician and began to wow us by pulling rabbits out of hats, it wouldn't be surprising.

He's an entertainer. By any medium necessary.

Jericho made his name in wrestling. He's since springboarded from the squared circle to other worlds. But he always seems to return to his roots, as he's set to do once more.

On Saturday, at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Dominion event in Osaka, Japan, Jericho takes on Tetsuya Naito. The IWGP Intercontinental Championship match is one of the most anticipated bouts of the night. Naito will seek revenge on the man who ambushed him in May.

The fact Y2J is wrestling for NJPW not two months after appearing at WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble show is newsworthy on its own. The story goes well beyond competing for rival companies, though.

His multifaceted C.V. will continue to grow in impressive ways. Jericho's 2018 has seen him alternate wrestling matches with Fozzy tour dates. Later this year, he'll host a rock 'n' roll and wrestling-themed cruise.

Jericho refuses to be contained by a single art form, stretching his arms to wherever this is spotlight.

                  

The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla 

Fozzy may have started out as a bit of fun between friends, but it has since evolved into a legitimate band that inspires a global fanbase to headbang.

Formed in 1999, the metal quintet focused on covers early on. The group recorded its versions of Iron Maiden's "The Prisoner" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Over the Mountain". Its fictional backstory explained that Jericho, who called himself Moongoose McQueen, and his crew had spent 20 years in Japan under the thumb of a music mogul.

It all felt like part-tribute, part-parody of the genre.  

Slowly, the percentage of original songs and covers shifted toward the former, and Fozzy became a more serious outfit. The band has put out a total of seven studio albums. Along the way, it has traveled to Europe, Canada and Australia. 

"Sandpaper" earned a spot in Loudwire's Cage Match Hall of Fame. "Judas" reached the No. 5 spot on Billboard's mainstream rock song chart

Chad Bowar of Loudwire wrote of Fozzy's latest album, Judas: "Fozzy songs aren't overly complex, but they are catchy as hell, making pretty much every song on the album a potential single."

Jericho has always been a charismatic presence on stage, a carryover from his wrestling life. Dancing in a glittery jacket with a playful snarl on his face, it's clear he's having a blast up there.

And as long as that stays true, one can count on Fozzy continuing to be a key part of Jericho's all-over-the-place schedule.

                    

Shape-Shifting Superstar

Just when all the critics hail one of Jericho's runs as his best ever, the constantly evolving Y2J comes up with something better.

In the early '90s, Jericho was a high-flying heartthrob with blond locks in Mexico. He was a cunning, underhanded heel with a persecution complex years later in World Championship Wrestling. Channeling Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, Jericho adopted a cold, soft-spoken persona during his feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008.

More recently, armed with The List of Jericho and donning ridiculous scarves, he was consistently one of the best things about Raw each week.

After months of teasing a match with NJPW's Kenny Omega, Jericho emerged in Japan. He was now The Alpha, a predator with an inflated ego, far more focused and vicious than his WWE self.

He helped add another layer of buzz to the marquee Wrestle Kingdom 12 event. The wrestling diehards tuned into to see the likes of Naito and Kazuchika Okada. The casual fan was now enticed as well, curious about what Jericho would cook up in East Asia.

When the bell rang, he didn't disappoint. 

A 47-year-old Jericho battled Kenny Omega in what might have been his magnum opus. He kept up with the younger, wild-haired human pinball as they told a bloody, revenge story.

The result was a bout that earned a five-star rating from Wrestling Observer Newsletter founder Dave Meltzer (h/t Internet Wrestling Database).

Jericho sauntered down the entrance ramp in the Tokyo Dome that night to his own song "Judas". Of course he did. Why not plug your band on NJPW's biggest show of the year? Why not let one vehicle feed into the other?

                

TV, Radio, Print

It's hard to escape Jericho at times. Even if you tuned out of wrestling over the past decade, there are a number of places you might have seen him pop up.

In 2013, he hosted Robot Combat League, a show on which contestants built robots and battled them. He made a cameo in Sharknado 3, appeared on MTV's Headbangers Ball and created his own comedy web series But I'm Chris Jericho!

Jericho was a representative of wrestling, evidence that wrestlers aren't just a bunch of oversized meatheads. He's a funny, witty and likable guy, and that was clear whether he was acting, hosting or making a guest appearance.

He broke new ground in 2011 when he became the first WWE performer to compete on Dancing with the Stars.

As one would imagine, Jericho has quite the story to tell. And he's told that tale himself. The Fozzy frontman has written four autobiographies to date. Jericho's A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex is near the top of the most entertaining wrestling biographies out there.

As much as his voice pops off the page in that book, it's not surprising that Jericho's been so good as a podcast host. 

Talk is Jericho has been around for nearly five years. Wrestlers, rockers and stars from various mediums have been his guests.

Jericho is a skilled interviewer. He digs for more interesting info without pushing too hard. The conversation remains fun with him at the wheel. He is arguably better in this role than any other.

When he's too old to cut it in the ring, Jericho has a second career waiting for him. If he's not too busy with his other gigs, that is.

                    

Circus on the Sea

You can always count on Jericho to surprise you. That's not just because he somehow manages to keep his returns to WWE secret—even in the age of the internet. He regularly pulls out a new unexpected project.

Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager at Sea is the latest exhibit of that in action.

Y2J is hosting a cruise in October that will feature an amalgam of entertainment. Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling will provide in-ring action. There will be music (including Fozzy, of course), comedy and live Talk is Jericho podcasts.

It's a floating festival with several of Jericho's skills on display. 

He will be a wrestler, a rocker and a podcaster all in the same place. It's the first time, though, he has slipped on his promoter's hat. History says he will succeed.

Jericho had an inventive idea and ran with it, moving wrestling out of the arena and on to the open sea.  That's the kind of ingenuity the business needs.

Where he stops next is anybody's guess.

Y2J has never been content with simply being a wrestler. He's a Swiss Army knife of an entertainer, and he likely has implements hidden away that we have not yet seen.

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